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Some Pensby wildlife
Thursday, 2 August 2007
Thursday 2nd August 2007



As promised, here are some of the micromoths from yesterday.  On 16th June I showed a male Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella).  This is a female which was in the trap.  This characteristic of the male and female being different in appearance is known as sexual dimorphism.  The caterpillars feed on the comb inside bee and wasp nests.



The most common micro in the trap for much of the year is the Light Brown Apple Moth  (Epiphyas postvittanus).  This is a pest species which was accidentally introduced to Cornwall from Australia in the 1930s and subsequently spread across the country.  It is now very common in some areas and flies from May to October.




This attractive species is Tinea trinotella.  Flying at night, and often visiting light-traps, the adults are at large between May and August, with possibly two generations.   The caterpillar  lives in a portable case like a caddis fly larva, and is quite common in birds' nests, where it feeds on detritus and food remains.


Posted by planet/pensby at 7:28 AM BST
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Wednesday, 1 August 2007
Wednesday 1st August 2007


I ran the moth lamp last night.  There were about ten Large Yellow Underwings, forty Lesser Yellow Underwings, and about a dozen other species including the very variable Riband Wave and the Early Thorn.    There were also a lot of micromoths which I shall probably show on tomorrow’s page..



Lots of little midgey type flies are also attracted to the light overnight and invariably a couple of spiders climb in.  Today a few Enoplagnatha ovata were present.

Posted by planet/pensby at 2:47 AM BST
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Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Tuesday 31st July 2007


The Forest Bug (Penatoma rupfipes) which we saw in its final nymph stage on 9th July (or perhaps it was its brother or sister!) was fully grown when I came across it today.


We have two Apple trees – a Cox Orange Pippin and a James Grieve.  The latter is supposed to be harvested in September but there are plenty of its apples that are already large and ripe.


A female Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)  joined the Commas and Whites in the garden today.   It can easily be distinguished from the male as the latter has a dark bar of scent scales across its wing.   This species, also once known as the Hedge Brown, is found in grassland where tall grasses grow close to hedges, trees, or scrub, particularly along hedgerows and woodland rides and also in habitats such as undercliffs, heathland, and downland where there are patches of scrub.  Our garden is therefore a fairly unlikely place for it and it was the first we have seen here.


This now makes 12 species of butterfly we’ve seen in the garden - Holly Blue;  Meadow Brown;  Gatekeeper;  Speckled Wood; Comma;  Small Tortoiseshell;  Red Admiral;  Peacock;  Orange Tip;  Large White;  Small White; and  Green-veined White.

Posted by planet/pensby at 8:22 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007 8:26 PM BST
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Sunday, 29 July 2007
Sunday 29th July 2007



The wind is constant and photographing things that move can be difficult in these conditions.  Fortunately this large clump of the fungus Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha) is static.  If the fingers waved in the breeze they would be even less appetising!


Posted by planet/pensby at 6:13 AM BST
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Saturday, 28 July 2007
Saturday 28th July 2007



Most of my time outdoors was spent cutting up the Ash tree branches into firewood and disposing of the leaves under the hedge but I did take time out to photograph the Great Willowherb that is at its height, literally, today.  At about five feet tall it could have picked somewhere other than the rockery to appear!  Hopefully if I take it up before it seeds itself it should not be an issue next year since the other couple of patches of it are where they belong – in the wild flower garden.


I have never seen the Scarlet Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) on Merseyside before so I was pleased during today’s work to spot this chap.  Unfortunately most of my neighbours will be anything but delighted to know it is around here.  


I have no doubt my lilies will suffer next year unless I am very vigilant and even then I’m not sure how to combat it as I am loathe to kill it or its slimy orange larvae with black heads.  It is highly resistant to chemicals and has proved itself a real pest down South since it arrived in Britain on imported flowers in the 1990s.  It has recently reached Scotland.

Posted by planet/pensby at 4:00 AM BST
Updated: Sunday, 29 July 2007 9:16 AM BST
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